Is the なる in 健全なる精神は健全なる身体に宿る just the normal 成る? I don't think I understand how 健全なる精神 means "a healthy spirit"- I would think to say 健全の精神, I think. Can someone explain how saying 「健全なる精神...」 came to be?

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    I think ~~なる is the 連体形 of na-adjectives in archaic Japanese. You'd say 「健全な精神」「健全な肉体」 in modern Japanese. – user1016 Aug 4 '14 at 22:56
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    Yes, please be careful not to mix up 成る "become" with なる < にある, the adnominal form of the classical copula なり < にあり, which is the source of modern な. Compare the modern copula だ < であ < である < にてあり, which is etymologically the same as なり < にあり except with にて in place of に. – snailplane Aug 4 '14 at 23:37
  • I would prefer "sound mind" to "healthy spirit". – user3526 Aug 5 '14 at 2:25
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    @Anthony Try not to overanalyze this. When you translate a line from Latin, you will naturally tend to use older words and forms in your own language. The original is "Orandum est, ut sit mens sana in corpore sano" by Roman poet and lawyer Juvenal (0060-0130). – l'électeur Aug 5 '14 at 10:45
  • Oof sorry for upsetting everyone! I didn't think it should 成る I just didn't realize, for some reason, that it was にある の なる. – user3457 Aug 6 '14 at 0:39

As others have noted in the comments, the なる used in old-fashioned text after -na adjectives is derived as a contraction from older form ni aru, and actually doesn't have anything to do with 成{な}る "to become". This なる can be used after any -na adjective to impart a somewhat more formal or poetic feel: 健全{けんぜん}なる身体{しんたい}, 静{しず}かなる田舎{いなか}, 綺麗{きれい}なる着物{きもの}.

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    「綺麗なる着物」 sounds neither formal nor poetic. It only sounds weird to me. It is not something a native speaker would say. 「静かなる田舎」 sounds better than 「綺麗なる着物」 but it still sounds neither formal nor poetic. – l'électeur Aug 5 '14 at 5:56
  • そうですねぇ。。。なぜかは分かりませんが、「[華麗]{かれい}なる」「[遥]{はる}かなる」「未知なる」「[新]{あら}たなる」「完全なる」「[偉大]{いだい}なる」「大いなる」くらいしか思いつかないですねぇ・・・ (あれ?でも「未知な」「大いな」って言わないね?) – user1016 Aug 5 '14 at 6:58
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    @Choko Or how about 聖なる, but not *聖な? – snailplane Aug 5 '14 at 7:03
  • ほんまや!「聖なる」っていうけど、「聖な」って言わないよね!なんでやろ~~?? – user1016 Aug 5 '14 at 7:04
  • 「神聖なる」なら、「神聖な」になるんだねぇ。。。「[妙]{たえ}なるexquisite」は「[妙]{たえ}な」にならないねぇ(「[妙]{みょう}なodd」ならあるけど・・・) – user1016 Aug 5 '14 at 7:16